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Monday, May 29, 2017

Wild Woodland Blue Phlox

 
Here's another lovely wildflower. But at this time of year, there is a common alien plant that people often mistake for it. First, the real thing. Woodland Blue Phlox, Phlox divaricata.

photo label

This plant grows about a foot tall, sometimes a little more. It's usually found in messy-looking clumps. This species has notches in the tips of the petals.

Garden phlox has similar flowers, but is taller.

The thing to keep in mind is that all phlox have five petals. P-h-l-o-x has five letters, five petals. It also has opposite leaves.

The lookalike that is beginning to cover the roadsides this time of year is Dame's Rocket, Hesperis matronalis. It does look a bit like garden phlox in growth habit and color. But, and here's where you can be the plant-smart person who KNOWS... D-a-m-e has four letters, and four petals. And, by the way, it has alternate leaves.

I don't have a good picture of the Dame's Rocket, but when I get one I'll give you a comparison.

See Hairy Phlox in Alabama
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2 comments:

Ratty said...

I think it might be Dame's Rocket that is growing all over the countryside around here. After reading your post and then doing a quick image search I discovered plants that look very similar to the pictures I've been planning on posting. As usual, I may still have it wrong. But I think you just helped identify my mystery plant for me, like you have done many times.

Ann Thompson said...

I've seen both but I've never looked up close or noticed the difference. Easy way to tell them apart though

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